What you need to start a blog in 2022
So, you’ve decided to start a blog for your business – that’s great! The good news is that starting a blog is easy to do and doesn’t require huge amounts of content, to begin with. You can start small and gradually build and grow your blog. Before you start, there are a few things you’ll need to know and consider. To make it even easier for you, we’ve rounded them up into one easy-to-read guide on what you need to start a blog.
1. Before The First Blog Post... Find Your X Factor!
So that you can fill your blog with the right type of content you first need to find your business’s X factor and why your business is superior to competitors (unique value proposition).
Just as your business needs to have a certain identity in order to stand apart and succeed, your blog needs a USP (unique selling point) too. Once you have found your business’s X factor, you can use this to not only form the topics you write about but filter it through your design and images across the blog.
For instance, if you own an accounting firm which in international tax law, your blog should reflect that. If you own a hair salon, it’s not enough to write content about general hair styling. Say your unique value proposition is “a hair salon for trendy 20-somethings”, your blog posts need to communicate exactly with that specific audience.
2. Compile a List of Blog Posts
Once you’ve determined your business’s X factor and what kind of a blog you need, you need to make a list of appropriate blog posts.
Consider search keywords when compiling your list of blog topics: what are people searching for in your industry? What are they interested in? What problems do they have that you can help them solve?
There are a number of tools you can use to search for keywords. It’s also good to draw inspiration from real-life customers, look at your FAQs or keep a note of good conversations you’ve had – there might be a great blog post there.
Brainstorming for your blog should be a team effort, be sure to seek help from your staff and those who know your business well. You can also look at competitor blogs to see what people are interested in reading. Having a bank of potential blog posts will help you to feel prepared inconsistent blog posting.
3. Create a Blogging Schedule
When you start a blog decide how often you want to post content on your blog and which posts you want to start with. It will help you to manage your blog by planning out a schedule for the next few months. The frequency of your blogging should be determined by your workload and ability to post, there’s no use in posting low-quality content just for the sake of posting. As a rule of thumb, post as often as you can keep consistency and high-quality content.
When writing your first blog post, you need to know when you want the next one to appear. Your blog schedule can be updated as your blog and business grow. You can start with posting once a month, for instance as you increase visitors and confidence in your blog.
4. Decide Who Will Create Your Content
Keep in mind that creating content for your blog takes time. Managing a blog requires writing, image-sourcing, editing and styling skills. If someone on your team is a natural writer, and someone is a great photographer, utilise them for your blog. You can also outsource this type of work to a marketing agency to free up your time and ensure you deliver high-quality content.
5. Choose Your Platform and Set Up Your Blog
To get your blog online you need two things: a platform to host your blog and software to build it. The two usually come together. If you Google it, you’ll find plenty of platforms to open a blog, such as WordPress, Tumblr or Blogspot. Each one works a little differently and offers different levels of customisation.
If you already use a marketing platform like 12handz, you can reach out to the CSM team to get access to the blog. Support can upgrade your account with a blog subscription, so you can manage this yourself along with all of your other marketing channels.
6. Create Great Content
The most important thing to remember when setting up your blog is that content is key. You want to create a destination that positions your business as a go-to for articles and information about your industry. After all, a blog is an extension of your website and store front. You can learn more about creating great content for your blog here.
7. Add CTAs
Add a clear CTA (call to action) at the end of each blog post in order to drive people back to your website, which will lead to conversions and sales. Adding CTA’s encourages your readers to perform a certain action, such as “Contact us today” or “Book an appointment”.
You can also add CTAs that allow your readers to follow you on social media, to subscribe to your blog (so they can be alerted when you post new content) or to share this specific post on their social media channels.
8. Encourage Discussion on Your Blog
Leaving a comments section after each blog is another way to encourage your readers to engage with you as a brand. Ask readers to share their thoughts on the content or even finish your blog with an open question for them to answer.
Gathering feedback and encouraging communication with your readers is an essential part of managing your customer relationships like a pro.
Make sure to always answer and engage with your readers. This makes them feel listened to and emotionally invested, which is what you want.
9. Make Sure Your Blog is Visually Appealing
As well as having great content, your blog also needs to look good. So keep your paragraphs short. If you’re text content is long, breaking it up with imagery will make it easier to read and more pleasing on the eye. Keep the design of your blog clean, neat and readable.
Use colours and fonts that represent your brand but won’t distract from the content. Use high-quality photos and add videos (just make sure you have the rights to the images and videos you’re using).
10. Optimize your Blog for SEO
In order to get people reading your blog, you need to be found via search engines. This is why you need to invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When writing with SEO in mind, it’s key to think about your reader. The best way for you to improve your chances of ranking is by producing high quality content. Think about your customers’ pain points, what motivates them, what interests they might have during a specific time, etc.
SEO is a huge and complicated subject, but there are a few basic things that you can do to improve your rankings:
● Start with researching keywords relevant to your business, then use a keyword research tool to understand what users will be looking for. Keep in mind that the most popular search terms would be the ones with the most competition and not always the best for you. Look for specific keywords that suit your business best.
● Add meta data to your blog posts. This is a short description about the post that people see when it comes up on Google. Make sure to include keywords you want to rank for and sum up what the post is about to entice readers.
● When adding images to your blog post, don't forget to use alt text. This is the text description of what your photo is all about and will allow the imagery to show up on Google searches too, increasing the visibility of your blog post.
● Link to other pages on your blog or website to cross promote other content. This will keep the user on your
site for longer and allows search engines to create a better sitemap.
● Create hyperlinks with descriptive words for internal links rather than using CTA’s. This is more compelling to click on and will boost your use of keywords across search engines.
11. Check Your Legal Requirements
12. How To Promote Your Blog
While employing SEO techniques will increase your blogs chances of being found on search engines, you need to ensure you are pushing people to visit and read your blog. There are a number of active marketing methods you can do in order to drive traffic to your blog:
● Let your family, friends, coworkers and colleagues in your industry know about your new blog. Send them a link, invite them to follow your blog, ask them to share and spread the news and thank them for their help and support.
● Use social media channels to promote your blog along with regularly updating them with the latest content. By linking directly to posts from social media you are giving people to opportunity to like and share it to other new users too.
● If you have a newsletter, use it to let your subscribers know you posted something new in your blog.
● Give your blog a prominent position on your website. Add a subscription CTA on your website where visit or scan sign up to receive new posts, just like they would sign up for your newsletter.
● Comment on other blogs or on the blogs’ social media channels, start discussions and share your blog. Being part of a professional community will benefit your blog and your business.
Check how well your blog is working
Like in any other aspect of your business, you need to keep track of how well your blog is performing. Being aware of how much traffic your blog is getting, driving to your website or which blogs are performing best and across which promotional channels will allow you to create more high-quality content over time. There are different online tools and metrics you can use to answer these questions and ensure your blog is serving an intended purpose. This way you can constantly improve your own blog, learn from your successes, as well as from your failures.
Once your blog is set up and you’re confident in all the ways it can benefit your business, you will be ready to continuously create great content for your blog and boost its visibility online.
for your business
(not anybody else’s)